Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature celebrates 25 years with eight-film lineup.
Audiences should prepare to be challenged and entertained at the 25th Annual Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival on February 23–25, Feb. 28 and Mar. 1–4 at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg.
At 7 p.m. each day, this free and open-to-the-public festival will feature films from around the world grappling with people’s relationship to the planet through cinematic-storytelling, visually interesting photography or unique presentations, says Festival Co-Director Nathan Andersen, Ph.D., an Eckerd professor of philosophy.
“We avoid conventional documentaries that have information but don’t have anything interesting cinematically,” he explains. “That’s where the ‘Visions and Voices’ name comes from. We’ve always tried to display something visually interesting and articulate about the subject.”
Andersen and his co-director, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Joanna Huxster, Ph.D., selected eight movies through word of mouth and well-known festivals such as Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes to be screened at Eckerd College with introductions and talkbacks with Eckerd faculty or the filmmakers themselves.
“One of the most charged discussions will be about How to Blow Up a Pipeline, which is a heist movie about a group of people with different motivations who come together to commit an act of private-property destruction to bring attention to climate change,” Andersen says. “It’s an exciting work of fiction, effectively a thriller.” Yet the film is adapted from a theoretical treatise by environmental activist Andreas Malm about the ethical implications of eco-sabotage, the destruction of property in the name of protecting the environment.
Director Daniel Goldhaber will appear at the Feb. 24 screening to introduce the film and answer audience questions before he leaves to continue work on another project in Germany.
Topping off its first quarter century, the Environmental Film Festival is ready to return to form—packed houses of engaged community members ready to see something unlike anything else in St. Petersburg.
“We’ll also be screening All That Breathes, which I believe is the front-runner for Best Documentary at the Oscars this year,” Andersen says.
Bringing high-caliber environmental films to the region was a passion of the festival’s founder, Catherine Griggs, Ph.D., professor emerita of American studies who passed away in September 2022. Andersen worked with Griggs on the annual event from 2006 to 2018, when she retired, and this year’s festival is dedicated to her memory.
“One of the amazing things about films is that you can teach someone about a range of ideas in a short time and get them to care about those things, such as the environment and issues of humans’ relationship to the natural world,” Andersen explains. “This festival offers the local community exposure to a number of these films that can intensify interest and engagement on these issues. Having the discussion—not just watching a movie, but thinking and talking about them with others—is different from streaming a documentary at home. This is about having an experience.”
For the entire festival schedule, visit environmentalfilmfest.com.